Monday, November 20, 2017

Milton Caniff's Advice on Inking with a Brush

Milton Caniff (1907-1988), the cartoonist behind Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon, was also an instructor for the Famous Artists Cartoon Course

He noted that the brush had become a very popular tool for drawing in the 1940s and '50s in magazine gag panel cartooning.

Here are some of his tips:

1. When dipping your brush in the ink, always press it gently against the inside edge of the bottle neck to remove excess ink.

2. Before touching your brush to the paper try it first on a paper palette (a strip of paper thumbtacked to the top or side of your drawing board).

3. Never let ink dry on the brush.

4. Always wash it by rubbing the brush lightly and gently on a cake of soap, then rinse it in clear water when you are ready to put the brush away.
You can still get the original instructional binders: Famous Artists Cartoon Course (3 Volume Set)
And there are also reprints of The Complete Terry and the Pirates
Modern brush pen that takes cartridges and is very portable: Pentel brush pen


Casey Sattler said...

Love Milton Caniff,

He inspired my father to go into the comic business. For years my father would collect the comics and cut out both Steve Canyon and Terri and the Pirates. As a kid he would try and find anything he could on Caniff, then he finally got to meet the man in person. Later my dad got a job at Famous Artists School in the illustration then the cartooning course (this was in the mid to late 50s). Later my dad got to work on Crockett Johnson's strip "Barnaby", then even later in the 70s he worked at National Lampoon, having to draw like every famous cartoonist around.

Glad to see something from the old guys is still useful.

Thanks for Posting.

Casey Sattler

VM said...

I remember reading cartoons in the NatLamp which were drawn by Warren Sattler. I hope he's still alive and kicking.

Anonymous said...

I used to draw comics with a brush and inkwell, but Pentel makes a great cartridge-based drawing brush with synthetic hair (not felt!). The brush holds up well for a long time, the ink is dark and waterproof, and it doesn't bead - it's worth a try.

James Gurney said...

Rotm81, Thanks. Funny you should mention the Pentel, as I was just using one at a concert last week. Very portable and very sensitive. I'll put a link at the end of the post, too.

Casey, thanks for reminding us about Mr. Sattler. Great work!

Lou said...

I remember when I first heard that most comic book inkers used a brush and not a pen. That was in the late 60's, I was a young pup, and there was not the wealth of information on the process that there is today, so I didn't believe it for a while. Then I saw my first original comic strip art (at a great comic book shop on Hollywood Blvd. near Wilcox I think, what was the name of that place?). It was a Milton Caniff strip and it floored me.
At comic con many years later I talked to a talented young wanna-be comic artist who used nothing but Micron pens. Wandering around later I bought a heavily discounted book of the Caniff dailies. I took it back to the kid and suggested he study it hard and buy himself a bottle of Higgins and a brush. I hope he made it.

Beck said...

Thank you for mentioning these courses! Apparently they went into the public domain and can now be downloaded:

Matt Dicke said...

Hey James
For those wanting further reading on Milton Caniff from the Famous Artist Cartoon Course- I have some scans